Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Night Thread

Argue away

Is This A Joke?

Meet the Press tomorrow:

NBC Meet the Press--The stimulus package; financial bailout; the economy: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas); Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.); Erin Burnett ("Street Signs," "Squawk on the Street"); Steve Forbes, Forbes magazine; Mark Zandi, Moodys. Moderator: David Gregory.

Mark Zandi, former McCain adviser. Steve Forbes, former Republican candidate for president and basic conservative crazy person. Erin Burnett, of unknown political affiliation (to me) but was last seen fluffing Rush Limbaugh and generally expresses such viewpoints. John Kerry, Democrat. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican.

They Want Me To Pay For That Crap?

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Shouting and Stomping

Things are going to get amusing...

Afternoon Thread


Women Need To Be Punished For Having Sex

Kudos to Mark Steyn for spelling out the conservative position so clearly. Usually they obfuscate a bit more.

Baby Bullet

When people are overly impressed by a train which goes all of 79 mph max, you know we've got a long ways to go.


Never been to Portland so don't have any sense of this project, but free WiFi is a nice touch.

Blogger Wingnut Welfare Drying Up

What will all those rugged individualists do now?

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Morning Thread

by Molly Ivors

Cold pizza for breakfast, anyone?

Friday, January 30, 2009


Friday Night Thread



Ocala National Bank, Ocala, FL gets EATED.


Suburban Federal Savings Bank, Crofton, MD gets EATED.


Another shovel ready project.
Residents of the 2700 block of Croydon Street in Bridesburg have been suffering with a sinkhole for the last 12 hours. Resident Tiffany Dever said home foundations are cracking, and a water department truck fell in at one point. A spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Water Department said crews were on the scene. Repairs to a 6-inch water main are nearly complete, and then crews will start fixing a larger brick sewer line, Lauren Copeland, public relations manager for the department, said this afternoon.


MagnetBank, Salt Lake City, UT, gets EATED.

"Very Little Done To Help The Financial Sector"

How many trillion do we have to give them?

Afternoon Thread


A Brief Economics Thought

Am I the only to whom it's occurred that monetary policy through the banking channel (as opposed to, say, actually dropping money from helicopters) is only likely to be effective if banks are pretty good at allocating capital efficiently, and recent history tells us that the existing set of clowns in charge completely suck ass at this?

I Really Couldn't Care Less

But after repeated balloting, Mike Duncan has decided to call it quits and let someone else be RNC Chair.

Bad Bad Bank

CNBC tells me the latest version of Super Shitpile, the "bad bank," may not happen... basically, I think, because no one can agree on just how much money to light on fire.

Deep Thought

Someone should tell the Republicans that letting them screw the economy is not actually an effective stimulus.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

Are there any elected officials who don't assume their failures are universal ones, and therefore not their fault?

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg began his budget address on Friday afternoon — one of his most significant policy pronouncements as he seeks to persuade voters to return him to a third term in office this November — warning that New York City will need state and federal action, union concessions and more belt-tightening to close a mounting fiscal gap.

He outlined a four-part plan to close a projected the $4 billion gap for the 2010 fiscal year by reducing expenses by roughly $1 billion, obtaining another $1 billion from the federal government through more generous Medicaid reimbursements, securing another $1 billion from unions and the state by renegotiating labor contracts, and raising $900 million from tax increases, including a possible rise in the sales tax rate to 8.75 percent from 8.375 percent.


“It’s fair to say that nobody was prepared for the severity of the downturn we are experiencing,” he said.


This story has gotten some national attention, though I think Coatesville is often erroneously described as a "Philadelphia suburb." It's a former steel town about 45 miles away with a large African-American population (not suggesting racial motive here).

Just this week, 15 Coatesville rowhouses burned to a crisp. The city's on edge. Nervous residents are sleeping in their clothes with their most cherished possessions close by, just in case.

Some living through the horror of the flames. All living in fear that it will happen again.

Sadly, chances are it will. After all, the city has suffered 15 deliberately set fires already this year, equal to the total number there last year. Those match-happy terrorists are still on the loose, no doubt high-fiving each other for their attention-grabbing arsons.

People Are Truly Weird

Sometimes the internets just break my brain.


That's what the retirement age for Social Security is already scheduled to increase to. Just how long should people be working in construction?

Dr. Doom

I guess people should have listened.

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- At the World Economic Forum two years ago, Nouriel Roubini warned that record profits and bonuses were obscuring a “hard landing” to come. “I really disagree,” countered Jacob Frenkel, the American International Group Inc. vice chairman and former Israeli central banker.

No more. “Roubini was intellectually courageous, and he called the shots correctly,” says Frenkel, whose AIG survives only on the basis of more than $100 billion of government loans. “He gained credibility, and he deserves it.”


“The consensus is catching up with me, but it’s still behind,” Roubini said in an interview in Davos. “I don’t know what some people are smoking.”



Economy shrinks at 3.8 percent pace in fourth quarter, worst showing in quarter-century

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The economy shrank at a 3.8 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as the deepening recession forced consumers and businesses to throttle back spending.

That's an annualized rate.

Morning Thread

Friday. Athletic event coming up this weekend.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Rock on.


Health care for kids. Communism!

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats moved one step closer to handing President Barack Obama an early health care victory Thursday, passing a bill extending government-sponsored health insurance coverage to about 4 million uninsured children.

The bill, which was approved 66-32, authorizes an additional $32.8 billion over the next 4 1/2 years for the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The House plans to take up the same measure next week.

Thursday Night Thread


Deep Thought

The last time the media was so interested in the views of the minority party was in 1993. I wonder why that is.

That Number Keeps On Growing

Just give them the deed to the country and be done with it.

I'm so old I can remember when everyone agreed there should be no bailouts.

Bye Blago

That was pretty quick.

Afternoon Thread No2

Enjoy No 2.

Afternoon Thread


Persevere And Fight On

So funny.

Tear Down This Myth

Hey, Will Bunch wrote a book.


I will not be content until they put money in the bill to restore the Route 23 SUPERTRAIN, which "suspended" operation in 1992.


Indeed, very bad. There's no reason to bail out stockholders management.

Deep Thought

Illegal immigrants will be able to drive on roads built using funds from Obama stimulus package.


Wonder what this is about.

State Police have discovered a massive cache of weapons at the home of a former Vineland Police officer who was taken into custody on aggravated assault charges.


Chopper 3 was over the four-acre property after investigators discovered a massive cache of weapons in an apparent underground bunker. Apparently nearly 250 weapons were found along with a half million rounds of ammunition during a search of the grounds.

Wanker of the Day

Mark Halperin.

Suburban Models

It is frustrating how big chains often stick to suburban models when they move into urban environments. Near me there's a Superfresh with a block-destroying blank wall facade, and on the next block there's a Whole Foods which fortunately engages the street making for a pleasant pedestrian experience.

Cutting Cartoons

Village Voice Media, owner of many alt weeklies, has cut cartoons. If you, like many other people, pick up the weeklies for comics and no longer find them there, you should contact your local publication and express your disappointment. Politely, of course.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day


Jobless rolls jumped to a record peak in mid-January, while new orders for durable goods fell for a fifth straight month in December, data showed on Thursday, underscoring the deepening economic malaise.


The number of people remaining on the benefits roll after drawing an initial week of aid, or continued claims, rose 159,000 to a higher-than-forecast 4.776 million in the week ended Jan. 17, the most recent week for which data is available.

The Labor Department said this was the highest reading since its records on this series began in 1967. Analysts had expected continued claims to be 4.65 million.

Morning thread

Nice goin', Rahm.

(We were warned, in other words.)

Not Atrios

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Late Night

Rock on.

Wednesday Cat Blogging

How It Should Be

If I were advising the Republicans I would've told them to vote against the stimulus package. I would tell them to make the point clearly that if they were in charge, the bill would be a different bill. They're a competing political party and they need to, you know, highlight the fact that their vision for America is actually different. I appreciate that members of both parties don't always toe the line completely, but on a bill as big as this it makes perfect sense for it to play out as it did.

Of course the flip side is that Dems should've pushed the best plan that could pass the Senate instead of pushing some pointless fantasy about bipartisanship.

Your Liberal Media

Not, you know, liberal.


Good thing the Dems were so willing to compromise.

Voter Fraud

The most serious problem facing our democracy.


Another 300 store closings...

Happy Hour Thread



A wee bit more money for them in the House bill anyway.

Rules Their World

Marc Ambinder twitters from the briefing:

Tapper asks the Drudge question

After all that's happened, they still take their cues from him without any shame.


Alex Koppelman tries to grappel rationally with Republican horseshit, but there's really no point. This is just about Republicans squealing OH NOES DEMS HEART TEH SEX, the media giggling like tweens, and the Dems running for cover from the BIG SCARY VAGINA.

Local Notes

Drinking Liberally, South Philly Edition, begins tonight at 6pm at the South Philly Tap Room. 1509 Mifflin St., conveniently located not too far from the Snyder St. station on the Broad St. Line or the various bus lines which run down Broad St.

Deep Thought

Apparently Republicans think disease prevention is a bad thing.

The Bushes: All Class

You too, Bill.

Wanker of the Day

Norm Coleman.


I'm slightly confused by this. I get that upstate New York politicians tend to hate all things New York City, but Gillibrand's SUPERTRAIN would presumably be good for New York cities not named "New York City" such as Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, and Albany.

Simple Answers To Simple Questions

Tintin asks:

The question is, after reviewing the current composition of Op-Ed contributors at the WaPo, is there anyone too stupid not to get an offer of column space from Hiatt?


This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

Deep Thought

That's some bipartisanship we can believe in.

Deep Thought

I don't think I've ever seen teevee reporters try to read a spending bill before.

Good morning

There's a good reason not to let some people have too much money.

Not Atrios

Deep Thought

Every now and then I can imagine how George Bush must feel.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Rock on.

For Tanta

She was correct. I can see arguments for why 30-year fixed mortgages with appropriate due diligence under our current system should be exempt (and maybe agree with!), but any "exotic" mortgages (variable rate, liar loans, option arms, etc...) should go on the pile. Bankruptcy court isn't pleasant for any of the parties. Both creditors and debtors are punished, and in a time when "ability to pay" was not given much consideration lenders do deserve punishment.

Deep Thought

Is it possible that the Villagers are really this stupid?

Deep Thought

Has it occurred to no one that bank managers also make poor bank managers?

Deep Thought

America is clamoring for a bill John Boehner approves of.


I like this song, and so do you.

Typo Contest

Do your best.

Even More Thread

All blogged out for the moment so I'm off to drink liberally.


More Thread


He's Really Gone

It really is rather odd without George Bush to kick around anymore. Still, the media still chase around every Republican talking point that's fed to them, so not all that much has changed.

CBO Forecast

Rather grim.

The nation's current recession is likely to be the longest since World War II, and by some measures could be the worst since the Great Depression, a new Congressional Budget Office forecast said Tuesday.

Without a major economic stimulus plan, "the shortfall in the nation's output relative to its potential would be the largest – in terms of both length and depth – since the Depression of the 1930s," said new CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf in testimony prepared for the House Budget Committee.

Afternoon Thread


Dark Ages

Krugman's post is wonkish but you should still read it, though the admittedly I'm not sure where this really falls in the stupid vs. Straussian gambit (lying) debate.

Wanker of the Day

Glenn Thrush.

Lucy And The Football

I am just shocked to discover that Republicans will vote against the bill which has been made shittier to please them.

Just shocked.


It's like clown school for mass murderers.

Local Notes

So many opportunities to drink liberally this week.

One Child

As with the Schiavo case, the conservatives and the Villagers are completely out of their minds on this issue.

Learn, Dems. Please. People fuck and use condoms and support money for family planning.

But They Always Go Up, Right?

At least that was in the assumption I put in the model I used to make my $30 billion bet.

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Home prices in 20 U.S. cities declined 18.2 percent in November from a year earlier, the fastest drop on record, as foreclosures climbed and sales sank.

Morning thread

Brings back memories:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Late Night

Rock on.

As Predictable As The Rising Sun

Not sure there's a word for "rule by Republican hissy fit." Perhaps we need to coin one.

WASHINGTON – House Democrats appear likely to jettison family planning funds for the low-income from an $825 billion economic stimulus bill, officials said late Monday, following an appeal from President Barack Obama at a time the administration is courting Republican critics of the legislation.

Several officials said a final decision was likely on Tuesday, coinciding with Obama's scheduled visit to the Capitol for separate meetings with House and Senate Republicans.

Great Moments From The Bush Era


Where do these people come from.

Dinner Thread

Pork, tofu, and kimchi stew edition.

Wanker of the Day

Glenn Thrush.

Afternoon Thread


What's It All For Then?

I'm always amazed at how mainstream journalists never acknowledge that anything they do could possibly have an impact on anything.


There's nothing logical about the contraception freakout. The Republicans are betting on the idea the our media will react like 9 year old boys to anything remotely having to do with sex (they're right) and that the public will react likewise (don't think they're right anymore).

Experiences I Do Not Recommend

I get this occasionally. Do not envy me.

Q: Since early childhood, I've suffered from sleep paralysis. My father suffered from it, as well as my brothers. There have been many times when I thought I'd never awaken from it. What causes it? What can I do to prevent it from happening?

A: For folks unfamiliar with your frightening affliction, here is a description: When you awaken from sleep, your body is temporarily frozen. For, on average, a period of 15 seconds to a minute, you're paralyzed. You can't move or speak, and there's often a feeling of suffocation. There may be a period of hallucinations where dreaming and consciousness overlap. It usually happens upon awakening, but can also happen when falling asleep.


Gillibrand begins her new job by reaching out to the all-important SUPERTRAIN constituency.

Then he left Gillibrand to deal with the press.

"We talked a lot about the economy," she said of the lunch, and ticked off their wish-list of projects for which they hoped to get federal aid. "One area that we all agree on," she said, "is that we really want high-speed rail" -- specifically a fast rail line along the I-87 corridor and over to Buffalo. Gillibrand said they also discussed unemployment benefits, and getting more federal reimbursement for state Medicaid payments.

Lunch Thread


DC Notes

All the right people I know say he's awesome and people in DC can go to a fundraiser for Tom Geoghegan this evening. He's running in the primary for Rahm's old seat. Election's on March 3.

People not in DC can just donate!

Bye Bill

Admittedly, aside from helping to cause the deaths of thousands of US troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Bill Kristol's been pretty good for the progressive cause.

Local Notes

Just a little plug for R5 Productions and their Punk Rock Flea Market, which isn't just punk rock. They do their best to make as many shows they bring to town as they can all ages, which is difficult due to the economics of touring and stupid licensing/liquor laws.

*THIS* Sunday February 1st 10:00am to 4:30pm
At The Electric Factory (7th and Willow Sts - Just Below 7th and Spring Garden Sts)
All Ages / 21+ To Drink / $3 entry donation

(130+ tables of vendors selling old records, clothes, art, music, food, junk, bicycles, stereo equipment, instruments, automobiles, tools, posters, furniture, computers, skateboards and lots of other stuff ! All proceeds goto making sure that all ages shows remain a reality at the first unitarian church !)

It's back! that time again for the bi-annual (twice a year) PUNK ROCK FLEA MARKET. R5's most popular reoccurring event/show/whatever by far. We continually have over 2000 visitors and 100+ tables of old records, clothes, art, music, food, junk, bicycles, stereo equipment, instruments, automobiles, tools, posters, furniture, computers, skateboards and lots of other stuff this past June. It's all going down at The ELECTRIC FACTORY located just below 7th and Spring Garden Sts - a big spacious venue - giving them ability to host over 130 vendors in one single room. Their biggest market to date!
All proceeds raised will goto the purchase of necessary equipment and supplies to ensure that all ages shows continue to remain a reality at The First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia - mainly an annual payment for their liability insurance policy. Do not let the "name of the event" lead you to believe that it's just punk records, clothes etc. - it's a full on flea market with everything from furniture, to laptops / computers , to stereo equipment, to handmade apparel, to vegan treats, information from various non profit groups, book stores, artists selling their work, bicycles & skateboards and whatever else they can fit onto the ballroom floor at The Electric Factory .

In addition to the normal flea market stuff there will also be a full bar and food service kitchen to make the day go by a little faster.

Big Rail

I was thinking yesterday that part of the problem is that we don't really have the equivalent of the highway building industry to lobby for money. Freight companies throw some weight around, but their interests aren't exactly aligned with those of commuter rail advocates. Bring on Big Rail!

Or Maybe We Could Just Increase Social Security Benefits?

Impossible for Villagers to consider, of course....


Pretty close to 20% of their workforce.

The heavy equipment maker, Caterpillar, said Monday morning in a statement that it planned to cut 20,000 jobs as part of an aggressive effort to lower cost as the economy continues to slow.

He Wasn't The Worst They've Ever Had

I rise up in defense of William Kristol. Does no one remember Ann Althouse's brief stint?

Morning Thread

Changey hope, hopey change, via the NYT:

"This is William Kristol’s last column."

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Rock on!

Elections Have Consequences

Suck on this.

WASHINGTON — President Obama will direct federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday evening.

The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and signifies a sharp reversal of Bush administration policy. Granting California and the other states the right to regulate tailpipe emissions would be one of the most emphatic actions Mr. Obama could take to quickly put his stamp on environmental policy.

Sunday Night Thread

First full week of the failed Obama presidency is about to begin.


Actual numbers come out Friday, but the guesses aren't pretty.

GDP is expected to have fallen at a 5.5% annualized rate in the final three months of last year, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch. That would be the biggest decline since the 6.4% drop in early 1982 and one of the worst quarters in the post-World War II era.

Deep Thought

I wonder how much money we'll light on fire this week.

Happy Hour Thread



Doesn't anyone around this guy have the power to let him know?
Impeached Gov. Blagojevich, on the first leg of his media blitz timed to the start of his impeachment trial, in an NBC interview broadcast on The Today Show Sunday compared himself to human rights heros Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gahdhi.

Bipartisanship Sucks

I actually hope every Republican votes against the stimulus package, and I hope that instead of trying to please them the Obama team comes up with what they think the right package will be. The Republicans should lay out a competing vision, which won't pass because they aren't in charge. Then, 2 and 4 years from now voters can judge the results and if they aren't pretty they'll know who to blame and decide that the competing vision would have been a better one.

With bipartisanship you'll not only get a compromise that sucks, when it's time to throw the bums out no one will be quite sure which party should be blamed. Then what new candidates do is just run against some generic "Washington."

Democrats have the presidency and big majorities. Instead of hiding behind the spread-the-blame-around tactic, they should announce their vision and run with it.

Evil or Incompetent

As with the "stupid or liars" debate one doesn't really have to choose, but still it's an interesting question.

Ben Stein

I really can't believe an editor let this one through.


From the beginning, I think the Villagers bought into the idea that "terrorists" weren't simply bad guys who wanted to blow some stuff and people up, but actual supervillains with special powers. It's why they all seem to love Gitmo, because they think supervillains need some sort superprison to keep them contained.

Terrorists in quotes not because there aren't actual terrorists, but because not everybody the US government has labeled one and detained is actually one.

CA Is Broke

Heckuva job.
The controller says California is down to Plan D on its checklist of paying bills. Its cash reserves are piddling; the special funds it borrows from are tapped out, and no one in the private sector is going to lend it any cash at a reasonable interest rate.

That leaves what in state government circles are called "payment deferrals" and what in real life is called "stiffing your creditors."

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Vice President Joe Biden.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — National Economic Director Lawrence Summers; Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio.


CNN's "State of the Union" — David Plouffe, Obama presidential campaign manager; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.; Doug Feith, former undersecretary of defense; Charles Swift, former naval defense attorney.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

I now declare this thread...

Not Atrios